His Boom Box Was Named Big Baby

From: Wanted to Trade RP, the WoW blog I contribute to. This was written by Hillary:

I’m going to post a quick story, though, that I may eventually fiction out as an in character exchange, but for the time being, our readers should enjoy the absolute asskickery that is our author Bricu. The Feathermoon folks gathered at a park mid-Seattle. There were burgers, watermelon slices, salads, soda, and all around awesome food. Mid-meal, a gentleman that later identified himself as Grizzly walked up with a boombox propped on his shoulder. It was INCREDIBLY LOUD. One of our attendees had small children about, and respectfully requested that Grizzly lower the volume to not disupt the kids. This was about the time Grizzly’s intoxicated status became evident. We’re pretty sure he wasn’t on booze, but whatever it was, he was pretty fucked up. He began to rant how the park was his domain, we should RESPECT HIM, and then he started standing on picnic tables, his boombox on his shoulder, blazing awesome-tastic radio edited hiphop. Bricu tried to talk him down, but to no avail; Grizzly would have none of it.

After about ten or fifteen minutes of rudeness and disruption with most of our attendees incredibly uncomfortable by this stranger’s presence (he was not very subtle when he scoped out the lady’s purses), we called the Seattle police. Grizzly did not like police. Grizzly was shit out of luck because we’d had enough. As his sour mood and antics escalated, so did our calls to the authorities. He knocked over a trash barrel, started punching lit grills, and then got into people’s faces trying to intimidate them. To his credit, he was successful on the intimidation account. I was one of the folks that he decided to talk shit to, and it wasn’t fun. None of us had any idea who this guy was or what he was capable of. All we knew was he was ON something and hostile.

Thirty minutes passed, then forty, and still no PD. Our calls to 911 revealed that public disruption wasn’t an emergency situation and they’d get there when they could. Well, then Grizzly hit someone. He walked up to the chillest person there, slapped him across the face for absolutely NO REASON and talked a bunch of smack. He then swung on Tarquin, the event’s organizer. Bricu stuck himself between the men, yelled at him to stop. Grizzly took a couple of swings at him, Bricu Matrixed out with a pair of dodges, and then single shot him onto the pavement with a crack to the jaw. The nerd pigpile happened at that point – Bricu sat on his back, another gentleman restrained his arms while yet another sat on his legs. Another 911 call yielded the desired results, and the PD showed up about four or five minutes later.

I think perhaps my favorite part of this whole debaucle was Zalbuu, the Wildfire Rider’s angry priest. He was the guy sitting on Grizzly’s legs as we waited for the police. While he had this dude pinned, his cell phone rang. He picked it up, and all the rest of us can hear?

“Mom, this really isn’t a good time.”

And despite all this–and my right hook–I’m not settled with this. I haven’t hit another person–excluding my brother–since the 7th grade. I do not believe in violence. I really don’t. I cannot for the life of me think of a better way to have handled this. Grizzly got upset when I moved the cherries we had laid out away from him. If we started packing all of the food, he would have gotten more upset. There were kids there when he started (thankfully, before the slap, they were taken to a car so they didn’t have to see this). We called the Police. Hell, I called the police five times.

He could have had a gun or a knife. He could have really hurt someone. I jumped in because I thought I could take a punch better than my friend. I doubt I could have handled a stabbing….

There is another problem here that I am struggling with. I feel pretty good about the punch itself. It was one punch–the pig pile had other restraints and holds involved–and that’s a pretty damn macho thing. The base, reptilian part of my brain thinks that’s really cool. I’m old enough (and mature enough) to know it isn’t. What it means is that despite all of the skills I have developed at working with people, I had to resort to a method that doesn’t sit well.

My Dad always said “You never start a fight, but you always finish one.” I finished one. I still don’t feel good about it.

9 thoughts on “His Boom Box Was Named Big Baby

  1. I don’t think you’re supposed to feel “good” about it, other than to know that you’ve handled something in quite literally the only way that it could’ve been handled at that point. Someone had already been hit, and someone else was going to be hit – and I’m quite sure that you stepping in solved that particular incident from turning into a total fiasco. It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t what any of us wanted. But it was the right thing to do.

    And it makes sense to me to be happy with the punch (because it /was/ a gorgeous right hook, which is a skill that takes practice and ability) and not be happy with having to use it. It’s never fun to have that kind of conflict. But believing in violence is different than stepping in to take care of the people you care about – that’s what makes it self defense.

    Grizzy was there to start something. He /wanted/ violence. He tried every method he could to get someone to start it first, and we (particularly you) did everything possible to avoid it. Unfortunately, he was dead set on causing a problem. And in the end, one person got slapped, and he got punched, but it wasn’t the brawl he was looking for, nor did it end the way he wanted it to. Because you stepped in, though, he was the only person that actually got hurt, and we were able to have an enjoyable evening elsewhere. Doesn’t say anything about your ability to negotiate – it means that someone showed up with the intent of causing a problem, and continually demonstrated that he wasn’t willing to listen, be negotiated with, or go away. I honestly think that if you’d NOT been talking with him, things would’ve gone south faster, sooner, and in much more explosive ways.

  2. There is a heavy distinction between “not believing in violence” and believing in violence as only a last resort. I don’t see any shame in subscribing to the latter.
    Further, it seems acceptable to take pride in placing yourself in harms way, and for using “violence” in a focused and effective manner. In analyzing this, it seems you’re not accounting for the fact that you were not a belligerent; you were a very effective respondent.
    Sounds like heroics to me.

  3. “You didn’t start the fight, you just finished it.”

    Look, I’ll be frank, had you not reacted, I am fairly sure the young, over eager and very tense group of young men in attendance would have done A LOT MORE HARM to Grizzly than your punch ever would have. You were pissed off and angry, sure, but you had the sense to stop. You were the best equipped person in the group to handle the situation, and you did.

    Stop kicking the crap out of yourself. We appreciate what you did, and honestly, there was no other way that scenario could have played out that would have been any more palatable.

  4. You did everything you could to stop that from happening, Marty. How many times, when he got right up in your face, did you (calmly, politely) ask him to take a step back? How many times did you try to talk him down, assure him he could have all the respect he was demanding? I lost count. He wanted a fight, he wanted violence, and he wasn’t leaving without it.

    If we’d tried leaving the park, letting him have the spot he wanted, he still would have hindered our retreat. I was afraid he had a knife, or would grab one. For all we knew, if he left, he’d come back with friends.

    I’m still processing how I dealt with it, which was pretty much to shut down. I don’t like that at all. You kept a cool head the whole time and stepped in only when he went after not just one other person, but two.

    You don’t have to like that it ended the way it did. It’s good that you’re not raring to go out and lay Grizzly II across the pavement. But every one of us was glad you were there, and proud of how you handled it.

    You mention using the skills you’ve developed. We all saw you using them. We all saw you trying — very, very hard — to talk him down and get it to end peacefully. It’s not your fault they didn’t work. Don’t ever, ever question that. THIS WAS NOT YOUR FAULT.

    We laughed about it afterwards (“Feathermoon, FUCK YEAH!”), but it was damned scary while it was happening. I really believe your presence and the actions you took kept the situation from being a whole lot uglier.

    /hugs to you. You did the best you could in an awful situation. I know it doesn’t help you come to terms with it, but I’m proud of how you handled it.

  5. What they said. Plus, man – you can’t be hard on yourself for the natural gut reactions, the “base, reptilian part of [your] brain” and so forth. Of COURSE your instinct is to be proud of the punch and so forth. You’re human. People are fucking predators. If you didn’t have any sort of natural inclination towards violence, if you didn’t have to contend with coursing testosterone and all that implies – then it wouldn’t be much of a thing to avoid violence, now would it?

    The ability to recognize, weigh and master these fight-or-flight impulses is the real measure of self-control, and as far as that goes, you performed fucking admirably.

  6. I’m not even sure what “I don’t believe in violence” means. Is that like, “I don’t believe in unicorns,” or something?

    You believe in not letting your friends get hurt. Everything else was details.

  7. And you should know from your job, sometimes it just isn’t possible to talk someone down. Especially if they’re chemically altered in some fashion. Sometimes, a physical finish is the only possible solution. You know that intellectually; allow yourself to accept that emotionally.

  8. In times of moral questions concerning the use of physical force there is only one man to turn to for advice, his name is Dalton.
    Rent yourself Roadhouse and watch it, you’ll find the answers you are looking for.
    You did good Marty.

  9. Man, in rereading this I just noticed I used the word uncomfortable instead of discomforted. I’m such a baddy.

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